Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Well, hey, hey, workin' man

It's a big job just gettin' by with nine kids and a wife,
but I've been a workin' man dang near all my life
Well, two kids, gone on their own, and the wife is not counting on me to work.

I mean, she likes it very much that I work, but has never waited around to see if I could outproduce her.

I can't.

And I ain't been a workin' man near all my life, not like my dad. Not like my sister, who has worked longer and harder in her life than I in mine.

But I'll keep on working, as long as these two hands are fit to use. Maybe not the work Merle Haggard is celebrating in song, but work.

So I'm working a new job, trying to maintain the old life.

I keep my nose on the grindstone, work hard every day
Might get a little tired on the weekend, after I draw my pay
But I'll go back workin.' Come Monday morning I'm right back with the crew
It's oddly funny how many iterations work has taken in my life. You've probably had many jobs too. That's the way of things, I guess.

I thought I'd be a foreign correspondent out of college, a title without any real meaning or support of thought. Go around the world looking like something out of the French Foreign Legion, write about things, retire. That's what I pictured.

Here's my advice: Go out with a better plan than that.

Work life has been a lot of trying this, maybe that, hitching up this passion, checking out this thing. As a result, I have been a newspaper reporter, copywriter, teacher, retail clerk, editor, graphic designer and illustrator. Stitched through most of my work life I have been an illustrator in one form or another. I can't help it.
Hey hey, the workin' man, the workin' man like me
I ain't never been on welfare, that's one place I won't be
Cause I'll be workin,' long as my two hands are fit to use
Bills need paying, battered savings need reparations. Illustrating is wonderful work, which I recommend highly. It just doesn't always fulfill the bills-need-paying criteria.

I'm in a new position, challenging for me, at an office, interacting with people all day long, keeping track of multiple chains of responsibility, being mindful of the welfare of others. Foreign in almost every way from my illustration career.

I pack a lunch again. I have doubled my wardrobe (two new pair of dress pants and shoes).
Sometimes I think about leavin,' do a little bummin' around
I wanna throw my bills out the window, catch a train to another town

But I go back workin.' I gotta buy my kids a brand new pair of shoes
I catch the train to work! It's not the real kind of public transportation, not the kind that saves riders money and the environment its health. It looks more like an eccentric extravagance: I drive east to Lake Natoma 10 miles, where I swim early, then drive a little farther to the very end of the Light Rail in our county, and ride the train 22 miles west to the Sacramento River, all the way from one end to the other, along the old route of the Sacramento Valley Railroad.

At day's end, I take the train back, get in my car and come home.

To take public transportation from my home to work would mean a ridiculous and long figure eight of bus and train transfers. We condemn public transportation by our stubbornness.
Yeah, drink a little beer in the tavern,
Cry a little bit of these workin' man blues
This latest iteration will take getting used to, which is expected. I'm trying hard to keep swimming as many times as I can, and I'm maintaining my illustration projects. I got a smart phone, the last on earth to do so, closing the circle on personal technology, but right now I don't know if I can post this blog as regularly.

I'm hanging onto my old ways, hoping the new job somehow eventually enriches them. I'll miss some swims. I won't visit facebook®™ swimmers as often, or maybe even blog as often, at least for a while.

Please be patient, as I'll try to be with myself.

As long as these two hands are fit to use.

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